Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Poe Night

Welcome to the (first annual?) Edgar Allan Poe Night, co-hosted by Ann and Heather at Ann's house on the evening of 21 October, 2011.

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For you literary types, you can play Spot the Allusion. We have bits from "The Cask of Amontillado," "The Raven" (several times over--you may find a [paper] bust of Pallas over a doorway if you look very closely) of course, gifts from the Poe Toaster (the mysterious man who visits Poe's grave every year on his birthday), and "The Fall of the House of Usher."

There were also black paper cutouts of rats lurking around the walls from "The Pit and the Pendulum", Ravenwood red wine, blank bookmarks to decorate with fake quills (red Bic pens with black feathers taped on top), plenty of old books, lots of candles, plates with quotes from Poe's poetry, prose, and criticism written on them, mismatched wine glasses, banners made from fabric and pages from an old, falling-apart book containing some of Poe's stories, illustrations from that same book adorning the table, wonderful food, and even better company. The whole thing was conducted solely by candlelight.

We played True or False with facts about Poe's life and works, and everyone learned a little something. Someone read a poem that reminded him of Poe and someone else read the poem from "House of Usher." Thanks very much to my friend Ann for hosting; all I did was bring decorations the day before and help set the table earlier that evening. Everyone had a wonderful time, and I can't wait to do it again, whether it's another Poe Party next October or a night honoring another author in a few months!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

New Dress and (better) New Hair and New Grass

There was still quite a lot of dye left on my hair even after washing (and washing and washing) it out, so in the pictures I took the night I did it, it looked almost black. Well, after another good washing, the extra dye is gone and you can actually see the purple!

I made a new dress.

It basically looked like a shower curtain at first what with the ruffle at the top and the length, so I added the sash and halter tie. Much better.

I wore this to the Farmer's Market on Thursday evening. I got a compliment on the dress and several on the hair. One little girl who was riding her bike down a side street with helmet, training wheels and all, practically screamed, "Mommy, purple hair!" as I stepped down an alley to Main Street. It made me giggle.

The fabric is from a vintage sheet I got at Salvation Army or Goodwill or a yard sale. It's been so long I don't remember. Last summer, I made a drawstring backpack out of one of the pillow cases and some turquoise fabric.

Twirl! Always required after making and trying on a new dress.

You can also see our new grass, which is about a month old now. It still needs to fill in some spaces, but so far, so good! I'm just waiting for our water bill, which is sure to be massive. Although if this rain keeps up, maybe not!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

New Hair

If you know me at all, you probably won't be surprised by what you're about to see. I got my hair cut quite short again (it was still short, but it had grown out for nearly three months), then made another change.

Bleach on

(I look like I belong in an anime....)

Purple hair!
This is how I usually wear my hair.

It's not very very purple. It actually turned out almost black, and is only purple in certain lights or at certain angles. Maybe as I wash it and it fades a little, it'll be lighter and more noticeable.

Sometimes I wear my hair like this.

Thanks, Mom, for being my hairdresser! I don't have to look like a teacher for another month and a half, so why not, right? I love it!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Autograph Book

I went to 5 or 6 different yard sales on the way home from knitting group this morning. AMAZINGLY, I only bought stuff at three of them, though I totally made out like a bandit, especially at one! I've been looking for some very specific things, which I might start showing you after a bit, and I did not let myself look at any clothes (er, except I did buy a Cheshire Cat t-shirt and a pretty wrap skirt, and I coveted a couple of fur coats but didn't buy them). I could yammer on about the other things I got, but I'll save that for later. Today I want to tell you about the autograph book.

An autograph book is a little book of blank pages in which a person collects the autographs of friends and acquaintances, although they often also contain little notes, poems, rhymes, jokes, or even drawings.

I like how she added "Sunday" before School-day Memories, and wrote the name of her teacher, "Brother Wilcox" instead of the more typical year she graduated from that class. It's also got her address, which you can bet I will be scoping out soon, if possible.

This is the autograph book of Annie Lillian Lambert. I know her middle name, even though it isn't in the autograph book, because I also bought her 5-year diary, which was sporadically filled out for 1943 up until July 16th, with three entries in 1944. (The diary, the autograph book, and a really cute 1930's children's book I got for $1 all together.) In the diary, she mostly wrote about the parties she went to with friends, receiving letters from various boys, who drove her home or who she sat next to on rides around town (and what a "swell guy" the beau of the moment was), and the occasional prayer meeting at church or test at school.

The first handful of pages appear to be filled in by visiting preachers, maybe at revivals or just from gentlemen who came to preach at her church. I know sometimes "back in the day," nearby towns used to swap preachers for a Sunday. After that, the rest of the pages (and there are many!) are written in by Sunday School friends. There are also quite a few from people she met at a church camp called Pinecrest (written "Pine Crest" in the book) Camp in Palmer Lake, Colorado. A Google search pulled up The Historic Pinecrest, a lovely place to get married, with a chapel, an event center, and a lodge. Only the chapel looks like it might be remotely "historic," but I couldn't find anything more about it. Either it's a different place altogether, or it's undergone a lot of remodeling since 1945.

"May 28, 1944

Dear Annie,

Cows like punkins
Pigs like squash
I like you
I do by gosh!

A friend
Ruth Rupe"

There are several Rupes in the book; I assume they're siblings and/or cousins around Annie's age.

"June 11, 1944
Grand Junction, Colo.

Dear Annie,

Annie is your name.
Grand Jct. is your station,
Flearting (sic) with the boys
is your chief accupation (sic).

Sgt. George Gray
Bertha Whitesel
Flora Rupe"

I wonder where she met these folks! I'll bet she was very excited to spend time with a Sergeant! And who are Bertha and Flora, and why did they feel the need to sign the same page but in lead pencil as opposed to the blue pencil George signed with? Just friends being silly after the fact, or were they really there and just used a different pencil?

"Aug. 16, 1945

Dear Ann,

When you are kissing your sweetheart,
Out by the gate,
Remember, love's blind
but the neighbors ain't.

Your friend at Youth Camp,
Carlene Alexander"

From the 1944 diary entries, I'm assuming she's at least in high school from all the talk about "driving around" and "he drove me home!" Was she really that big a flirt and that boy-crazy? Or am I just getting a small part of the story--the things she thought were important and wanted to write about and the things her friends wanted to remember and tease her about.

Many of the preachers and some of the friends or acquaintances wrote well-wishes and exhorted her (one even used that word, exhort!) to live a life for God, that she would be a blessing to others, that the Lord would bless her, that God needs her talents, and so on. Reverend C.E. Myers from Osborn, Missouri, at a revival in Grand Junction on May 6, 1944, wrote Rom. 11:33 on his page. The verse is, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!" John H. Kane of Anderson, Indiana, (camper, preacher, or friend?) recommended Annie memorize 1 Cor. 10:13, as "It will help you much." That verse is, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."

Lila Mae (with whom Annie spent many days and nights, according to the diary) wrote "In your fruitcake of friends, remember me as the nut!" after her little note, but she wrote it upside down and added in the corner, "Ha! ha! I made you turn upside down." There's also some sort of code on the edge of her page. I'm sure they were very close friends with lots of inside jokes.

There are several references to the colors of the pages, usually in rhyme (these are only a couple): "I'll be polite and write on white/ And save the yellow for your fellow." (Lila Mae) "I'll write on yellow 'cause it is mellow" (Myron Hogen/Hagen?) In the book there are white, yellow, pink, and blue pages. I think this must be typical for autograph books because of the rhymes, which the folks who signed must have memorized and written often in various autograph books. One person named Lowell Ely (maybe? water smudged it) wrote around in a spiral, "Some people write up some write down Just to be different I will write around." Bertha Whitesel (who may or may not have known Sgt. George Gray!) added to the end of her cute poem, "Yours till the Mississippi wears rubber pants to keep its bottom dry." I also saw "Yours til the butter flies," and, "Yours till the popcorn balls."

I'm sure this is WAY MORE information than any of you really wanted or certainly needed, but I just love this whole thing! I understand the thrill of being a historian or an archeologist, now. You only have so much to work with, but by putting pieces together, matching up handwriting, finding out information on places, dates, and names, and using a little imagination, you can put together a picture of someone's life decades or even centuries in the past!

Did any of you ever have an autograph book? What are some memorable things you've seen in autograph books or yearbooks? What sorts of things did you used to write?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wii Fit

I got the Wii Fit out today for the first time in probably more than a year.

A small part of it is guilt that we spent all that money (Wii, Balance Board, and game) a couple of years ago and never use the dang thing. Mostly, though, it's that I hurt. I hurt when I wake up in the morning, I hurt when I sit in my desk chair, I hurt when I curl up on the couch with a movie. Notice how all those things involve not moving. There's my problem. So I'm going to start moving again.

During the school year, I'm standing up and sitting down a million times a day. I'm standing at the front of the classroom, I'm walking up and down between the desks, I'm perching on my stool, I'm walking to the office, the library, a classroom for meetings. I'm bending down to see a student's paper and edit with him, I'm stretching up to pull the projector screen down.

Since school got out, I've ridden my bike once (a whole 2 miles, woo) and taken two or three walks with the dog and/or husband. Other than that, I've been in front of my computer, on the couch, in bed, or on the floor in my Luxury Tent. All this non-activity on top of my scoliosis means... I hurt.

I don't want to hurt more than I already do, so I started out with only 15 credits on the Wii Fit. (Each exercise gives you a certain number of credits, usually just one or two per activity.) I'll work my way up to 30 where I was before, when we first got the Wii Fit and I was doing it every day. I do mostly Yoga and Balance, with a little Strength and a little Aerobic.

I also intend to ride my bike at least a couple times a week. Walks are okay, but kind of boring unless I have the husband to talk to. Taking the dog is a pain because she's, well, stupid, and gets all tangled up around our legs, pulls ahead, pulls behind, etc. One of my goals this summer, though, is to teach her how to take a walk nicely, so we'll keep working on that.

Don't get me wrong, though. I still fully intend to read a lot, watch lots of movies and TV series (huzzah for instant Netflix!), sew, and waste time on the internet! I love having summers off!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Knitting Tea Party

Today was Knit In Public Day. The library hosted a get-together on the front lawn, and a lady from the yarn shop downtown came as well. (And handed out coupons. Evil woman. I saw everyone from our little group at the yarn shop right after the library thing was over!)

Our knitting group, Weekly Fiber, meets Saturday mornings at various coffee shops to chat and knit (or crochet or embroider or hand sew or whatever--mostly knit). We assumed this event would just be a "come set up your lawn chairs wherever and chat" kind of thing, so we decided to bring a table and chairs, and I brought my fancy antique tea cups, tea set, coffee pot, and cloth napkins. That way we could still get our usual caffeine fix! One lady also brought muffins and scones.

It ended up that the library had a display of knitting books, chairs, and an awning... on the other side of the tree where we had room to set up in the shade. We felt slightly anti-social, sitting apart, but we enjoyed ourselves, and several people came over to say hi.

Melissa, Ann, me

After a while, a woman and her just-out-of-college daughter joined us and enjoyed some tea and conversation. It was a lovely morning with perfect weather! We're all very glad we went.


Last week when I lived in the Luxury Tent for a couple of days, I got on a 1920's kick and researched fashion, shoes, hairstyles, makeup, food.... This website was a great help (and makes me really want to go to that event)! Then, of course, I decided to sew my own 20's dress. It wasn't just flappers! Very few women wore fringed dresses, headbands with feathers, and rolled down stockings. (There were no fishnets unless you were *gasp* in a burlesque show or similar.) However, long strings of beads were popular with everyone!

I liked the look of the boat-neck, kimono sleeve dresses, and rather than sew on trim, I wanted to do embroidery. I didn't use a pattern, just traced a t-shirt for the general shape, measured the length I wanted it to be, and made it a little extra big to begin with--it's easy to make things shorter, but rather harder to make them longer!

I had the dress mostly "built" in a day. Over the next few nights, I did the embroidery, starting out with the little flowers on the sash (which were pretty wonky, but it's not really noticeable), then doing the ones along the neckline and bottom hem.

The neck facing was the most fiddly bit. I ended up hand-stitching a little of it because I had to fudge it to make it work, but I think it turned out fine.

The skirt is in four panels: the front and back are flat and plain, and the two narrower panels at the hips are gathered. The embroidery pattern (which I made up) could be little four-petal flowers, like lilacs.

I call this dress the Lilac Garden Party Dress.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Summer To-Do List

And there's room at the bottom to add more! I'm excited!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Luxury Camping

It's a good thing I didn't discover Pinterest.com before school was out! I think I've spent two or three hours there a day for the last three days! The first day, I kept finding pictures of beautiful makeshift tents--you know, blankets, pillows, a few dining room chairs, maybe the sofa, maybe a clothesline. They looked so lovely and cozy!

From weheartit.com

I love the bike used in this one!

From sassyone129.tumblr.com

From tumblr.com

Well, yesterday I made my own, and spent most of the day inside it.

There's an antique pink chenille bedspread over the ironing board and two chairs, and a quilt top given to me through a friend of a friend stretched over to the sofa.

Tea (green jasmine) and scones (homemade lemon cranberry), The Thief Lord, and Marie Antoinette on the laptop. Not all at once, of course.

I put a lamp inside at night. I love how it looks all lit up!

Sune really liked it.

I highly recommend making your own luxury tent on your next day off! With a couple of folded-up blankets on top of the rug, plenty of pillows, a lap desk for the computer, and a roll-out bamboo mat to set tea and such on, it was perfect! Make it extra special by using the "good" dishes and a fancy tea cup; I did!

P.S. If this looks weird, is hard to read, or isn't working because you read it as an RSS feed, please leave me a comment. I'm trying uploading photos through Blogger....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Letter to Teacher

Dear Mrs. N________,

I wanted to write this letter to you to thank you! You have helped me understand literacy, and grammer alot more! I dont want you to proof this because I want it to be a surprise! Im sorry for me being talkative, and noisy during class, but that's just my personality. I'm not going to be here on Friday to say goodbye to you. I'm really going to miss your fun, and wierd style! But your style is a good wierd, because it makes you look like you dont care about peoples thoughts. I'm gonna miss you!


May 25, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Today I...

-rode my bike 11 miles--5.5 out and 5.5 back--all along the riverfront trail.

-smelled cows, horses, hay, stagnant water, and weeds--and loved it.

-wondered why geese not in water always hang out in pairs.

-envied the kids in a house I saw with the coolest tree house ever.

-watched a hawk swooping low over the brush, looking for lunch.

-felt a beautiful March breeze on my skin under a translucent blue sky painted with all shapes and sizes of clouds.

-closed my mouth whenever I saw bugs in the air.

-sneezed my head off... but not until I got home.

-read a chapter of The Clockwork Three on a bench before I headed back (and finished it later this afternoon).

-wobbled into the house at the end of the ride and collapsed on the sofa.

-realized I'm going to need a padded bike seat cover if I'm going to do this again.

*Photo taken today on my phone - a smiley face on C 1/2 Rd.